San Antonio Spurs History

What if Manu Ginobili spent his career as the first option?

Manu Ginobili
Manu Ginobili / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages
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Manu embodies Dirk Nowitzki

During the 2011 playoffs, the Mavericks find a way to the NBA Finals out of the Western Conference. Manu and his Bulls battle it out with the new-look Knicks, and thanks to some stifling defense by Ginobili and an all-around great performance, his team manages to make the Finals over James and company.

It’s worth noting that in Game 6, the Bulls find themselves up 110-107 in overtime. There was a jump ball with 9.3 seconds left, and LeBron found himself with the ball. He got open for three and took the shot, but Manu blocked him from behind in what was the defining moment in his alternative career. 

With the momentum from their win in Game 6, the Bulls beat the Knicks easily in game seven, and then Aldridge, Crawford, and Ginobili beat Dirk Nowitzki's Mavericks in the NBA Finals, giving Ginobili a ring and his only Finals MVP. 

By the time next season rolls around, the Knicks are just too much. Sure, the Manu Bulls are in the conversation every year, but King James and company dominate the East. Manu is still consistently an All-Star, but with Wade, Chris Paul, and Derrick Rose all around, he isn’t considered a top-tier player at his position. He puts up crazy scoring numbers, but he never really leads his team to any further degree of success. 

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